HARRISONBURG --Virginia State Police held a workshop on ways to protect children from online predators.The internet is a wonderful tool. You can look for almost anything. Which means possible predators may be able to look for your child.
Special Agent Chad Morris is with the Internet Crimes Against Children Division with Virginia State Police. He said the internet has become a better tool to find these people.
"The combination of more proactive law enforcementis just being able to identifying that these offenders are out there. I believe that they are always there, but we are just better at catching their techniques," said Morris.
He said predators can't be stereotyped. Some children may play online games and become friends with people that way.
Predators tend to look at usernames to see who wants more attention. Spotswood Elementary Prinicpal Anne Conner said she's worried.
"It makes me want to protect them even more in any way that I can, and I think education is the way to be able to protect children from this kind of stuff. Because some of the things I heard tonight is the first time, it was the first time I was hearing it," said Conner.
Other parents were surprised to hear that predators tend to target children by using fake names on Facebook. They couldn't believe predators would even trade pictures.
"I'm trying to figure out how can I monitor, what can I do to help protect them," said Terry Fowler.
There are many things you can do to watch your child's access. One way is to have your computer in a common room, but now a days your child can get internet almost anywhere. Police suggest locking your in home wifi, monitor your child's useage and know who they friend with on social media.
If you have information to report on crimes against a child or wanting more information, call Virginia State Police at 1-800-572-2260.